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Thursday, September 22, 2016

T.A.M.I. Show, Big T.N.T. Show get Blu-ray release


Fans of classic rock and soul rejoiced when the legendary concert film T.A.M.I. Show made its DVD debut on Shout! Factory in 2009. 

Now that beloved film makes its Blu-ray debut, along with its long-lost—and much requested—follow-up, The Big TNT Show, on Dec. 2, as part of the 2-disc Blu-ray set T.A.M.I. Show / The Big T.N.T. Show Collector's Edition, from Shout! Factory (The Big TNT Show will also be released as a standalone DVD on the same day).

The set will contain all the bonus features from the T.A.M.I. Show DVD, plus new interviews with The Big T.N.T. Show performers Petula Clark, Henry Diltz and John Sebastian, and a 36-page booklet featuring detailed essays by Don Waller, rare photos, and memorabilia.

Filmed in Los Angeles in November of 1965, The Big T.N.T. Show stars some of the biggest acts of the day, including many future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members, performing their best material. The Byrds are in their original line-up of Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Michael Clarke, and Roger McGuinn. Others include Ray Charles, The Ronettes, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Bo Diddley, Ike & Tina Turner Revue, Petula Clark, Roger Miller, Donovan and Joan Baez.

Performing to the side of the stage in between acts, but not seen in the film, was the Modern Folk Quartet. Made up of future luminaries - songwriter/producer Chip Douglas, Lovin’ Spoonful member Jerry Yester, famous rock photographer Henry Diltz, and songwriter/musician Cyrus Faryar, with session player “Fast” Eddie Hoh on drums, the band closed the evening with the show’s Harry Nilsson-composed theme song “This Could Be The Night.”

Originally billed as a companion piece to the T.A.M.I. Show after that show’s success, The Big T.N.T. Show holds up as an essential time capsule from its day. Phil Spector was on board to help produce, to serve as the on-screen music director, and to play piano for Baez’s rendition of The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” David McCallum, a rising star appearing in the new TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E., was tapped to emcee. Filmed at what was then the Moulin Rouge nightclub on Sunset, footage also includes shots of the Los Angeles haunts Chateau Marmont, Ben Frank’s coffee shop, and fleeting hot spot The Trip nightclub. 

One of the most acclaimed rock events ever captured on film, the 1964 concert known as T.A.M.I. Show also featured performances by several future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. In a lineup like no other, the Rolling Stones, James Brown, the Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, the Supremes, Chuck Berry, Lesley Gore and others took the stage one after another on October 29 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

Aside from the five rock groups, all the performers were backed by a band that we've come to know as the Wrecking Crew, famed for playing on Phil Spector-produced hits, Beach Boys albums and much more, with future stars Glen Campbell and Leon Russell, among others. Fanita James, Jean King, and future solo star Darlene Love, billed as The Blossoms, provided backing vocals.

Both The T.A.M.I. Show / The Big T.N.T. Show Collector's Edition were mastered from a new High-Definition transfer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Peter Hook & The Light start North American tour


photo: Tim Norris
I caught the band's Pomona, Calif. show in 2014 (read my review elsewhere on this blog) and can confirm they do a fine job at handling New Order and Joy Division songs live. In a recent interview with Dave Kendall (SiriusXM, MTV), Hook admitted that a lot of the rarely played album tracks were difficult to nail down at first because many had mistakes in their original forms. Now the guys have mastered them. Read more info about the tour and a full list of dates from the press release below...

Peter Hook & The Light return to North America to perform Joy Division and New Order's legendary Factory Records compilation albums "Substance" live, sequentially and in their entireties.

Released in August 1987, New Order's Substance was originally conceived as a way for Factory Records boss, Tony Wilson, to play the New Order singles on the CD player of his new Jaguar car. Substance became the best selling New Order album ever upon its release, the double LP going on to sell 2 million copies in America alone.

Widely considered New Order's strongest album, Factory Records' 200th release featured the bands seminal 12" mixes of their singles as well as versions of ‘Confusion’ and Temptation re-recorded for the LP.

Running from "Ceremony" in 1981 up to "True Faith" in 1987 (again recorded especially for the album), the set takes in the high points of New Order's catalogue, including "Temptation", "Thieves Like Us", "The Perfect Kiss" and "Bizarre Love Triangle."

Released the following year in July 1988, Joy Division's Substance features all the singles which did not appear on the albums such as "Transmission", "Komakino", "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and "Atmosphere," as well as their B-sides, tracks from their EP "An Ideal For Living" and the Factory Records sampler.

Factory Records' 250th release, it begins with "Warsaw" and takes in the development of the band through "Digital" and "Dead Souls" to the band's final tracks. The collection demonstrates the same energy as a full length LP with several key B-sides added.

Peter Hook & The Light have toured Joy Division and New Order's albums extensively since debuting "Unknown Pleasures" back in 2010 with dates all across the world which have been very well received by critics and fans alike.













Tour dates:

Thurs 22nd Sept 2016 Webster Hall, New York, NY
Fri 23rd Sept 2016 Webster Hall, New York, NY
Sat 24th Sept 2016 The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA
Wed 27th Oct 2016 St Andrews Hall, Detroit, MI
Fri 28th Oct 2016 Metro, Chicago, IL
Sat 29th Oct 2016 Turner Hall, Milwaukee, WI
Sun 30th Oct 2016 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
Tues 1st Nov 2016 Venue, Vancouver, BC
Thurs 3rd Nov 2016 Showbox At The Market, Seattle, WA
Fri 4th Nov 2016 Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR
Sat 5th Nov 2016 The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
Mon 7th Nov 2016 Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City, UT
Tues 8th Nov 2016 House Of Blues, San Diego, CA
Fri 11th Nov 2016 Granada Theatre, Dallas, TX
Sat 12th Nov 2016 The Mohawk, Austin, TX
Mon 14th Nov 2016 Republic, New Orleans, LA
Tue 15th Nov 2016 Terminal West, Atlanta, GA
Thu 17th Nov 2016 Plaza Live, Orlando, FL
Fri 18th Nov 2016 Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sat 19th Nov 2016 The Ritz Ybor, Tampa, FL
Mon 21st Nov 2016 The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC
Tue 22nd Nov 2016 Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC
Weds 23rd Nov 2016 Howard Theatre, Washington, DC
Fri 25th Nov 2016 The Trocadero, Philadelphia, PA
Sat 26th Nov 2016 The Sinclair, Boston, MA
Sun 27th Nov 2016 Theatre Fairmount, Montreal, QC
Tues 29th Nov 2016 Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON

Ticket Links & Full Details At http://bit.ly/TheLightLiveDates
 


For videos and concert footage from The Light check: www.youtube.com/peterhookandthelight

www.peterhook.co.uk 

www.facebook.com/peterhookandthelight 
www.twitter.com/peterhook 
www.instagram.com/peterhook_thelight 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Crowded House reissues on the way

Crowded House will be celebrating their 30th anniversary by reissuing their entire catalogue in two disc deluxe CD packages and 180-gram heavyweight vinyl, unlocking a wealth of rare material that has been personally selected by Neil Finn and the band.

They will be released on Nov. 18 through Universal Catalogue, and are available to pre-order at the official Crowded House Store. Digital versions will also be available on Nov. 4.

The two-CD packages will feature the original album with a bonus disc of rarities, b-sides and previously unreleased home demos and outtakes unearthing over 100 unreleased tracks across the campaign. Each CD package will be delivered in high quality fan-deluxe packaging, with extended notes featuring new interviews with the band and memorabilia from personal and fan archives in a 36 page book. Exclusive CD bundles will also be available here.


True to the original releases, there will also be classic reissues of each album on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl. These are all cut from the original analogue tapes at Abbey Road Studios. The LPs will not include bonus tracks.

Upon announcing the reissues Neil Finn said, “We are thrilled all seven of our albums are about to be reissued in all formats including vinyl, each one accompanied by a rich trove of rarities including writing demos and other unreleased musical curiosities, as well as new original artwork from my dear friend Nick Seymour. This has been many years in the making with much of the exhaustive listening, editing and remixing being done by the keeper of knowledge Jeremy Ansell in Auckland. It has been a labour of love for us and our mission all along was making a superlative quality, definitive document of Crowded House’s unique history for all the fans who have given us their affection over the years.”

Crowded House's seven studio albums are:

Crowded House (1986) 
Temple Of Low Men (1988)
Woodface (1991)
Together Alone (1993)
Time On Earth (2007)
Intriguer (2010)
Afterglow (1999)


The self-titled debut Crowded House, released in 1986, saw the band instantly launch onto the global stage with lead vocalist and mastermind Neil Finn, bassist Nick Seymour and drummer Paul Hester premiering timeless hits including “Don’t Dream It’s Over,”World Where You Live” and “Something So Strong.” 

1988’s Temple Of Low Men drew critical acclaim and platinum awards with Finn crafting a set of intense and personal songs revealing his true mastery of melody – highlights including “When You Come,”I Feel Possessed” and the defining “Better Be Home Soon.” 

The band’s third studio album Woodface in 1991 spawned a remarkable European following with their first UK Top 10 and hit singles “Weather With You,” “Fall At Your Feet,” “It’s Only Natural” and “Chocolate Cake.”

With 1993’s follow up Together Alone, Finn’s shining pop song-craft joined forces with legendary producer Youth’s energetic and experimental approach to deliver catalogue highlights "Locked Out," "Distant Sun," “Private Universe” and was another phenomenal global chart success.

After the bands breakup in 1996 and subsequent reunion in 2007, the bands fifth studio album Time On Earth followed. 

2010’s Intriguer is the sixth and latest studio record from the band ionizing the commercial and artistic longevity of the group with Finn's durable song-craft shining across highlights “Saturday Sun” and “Falling Dove.”

Key 1999 compilation album Afterglow features a selection of rarities and outtakes recorded between 1985 and 1994 including “I Love You Dawn” and “Recurring Dream.” It is rightly regarded as an essential album in the catalogue and rounds out the campaign.

The entire collection is on sale from Friday November 18 and can be pre ordered individually or together as an exclusive bundle at the official Crowded House Store. Full tracklisting and images - http://bit.ly/CHTracklisting_Images.

This November, almost 20 years to the day when Crowded House said Farewell to the World with a celebrated concert held on the steps of the iconic Sydney Opera House, they return to that iconic space to celebrate their induction into the ARIA Hall Of Fame at the 2016 ARIA Awards.

Crowded House will perform two very special Encore shows exclusive to Sydney and Australia, their only appearances worldwide during 2016, on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26. Tickets for both shows will go on sale to the general public on Monday, September 26 at 10.00am.

Christmas album news: Neil Diamond, Jennifer Nettles, She & Him, Loretta Lynn

Another week, another slew of new holiday album announcements. This time, they're led off by the King of Christmas Albums, Neil Diamond... 

Capitol Records has announced the global release of Acoustic Christmas, a new holiday collection from Neil Diamond. Hitting Oct. 28, with a vinyl version arriving Nov. 19, pre-orders are now available HERE. Acoustic Christmas will feature new recordings of holiday classics and original tracks by Diamond, with 2 songs on albums bought exclusively through Target.

This new collection was produced by Don Was (Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan) and Jacknife Lee (U2, Snow Patrol, R.E.M.), the pair behind Diamond’s 2014 acclaimed album, Melody Road.

“One need look no further than Neil's earliest hits to know that something special happens when you set his voice in the middle of a few acoustic guitars: the vibrant expression that lives in the nuances of Neil's singing moves to the forefront and creates a profoundly intimate experience,” says Was.

“The vibe in the studio seems inspired by the folk scene of Neil’s early years in Greenwich Village. We had a stellar cast of musicians sitting around in a circle of microphones, eclectic acoustic instruments and Christmas lights! We had a wonderful time making this record and the good vibes permeate every track.” 

“He's got such a warm voice, it is like gravy or hot chocolate,” adds Lee. “The moments that worked so well during those sessions were when Neil sat with us and played the songs on the sofa, with his acoustic guitar, and we'd all pick up instruments that were lying about and join in,” says Lee of the album’s stripped-down format. “It was like traditional holiday gathering, when small family groups would sing together at home.” 

Track Listing: 

O HOLY NIGHT
DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR
CHRISTMAS PRAYERS
HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING
MARY’S BOY CHILD
SILENT NIGHT
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
CHILDREN GO WHERE I SEND THEE
CHRISTMAS IN KILLARNEY
THE CHRISTMAS MEDLEY:
IT’S ALMOST DAY
MAKE A HAPPY SONG
WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS
*#1 RECORD FOR CHRISTMAS (BONUS TRACK FOR TARGET)
*WE THREE KINGS (BONUS TRACK FOR TARGET)


Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Jennifer Nettles is prepping the release of her first holiday album, To Celebrate Christmas, slated for Oct. 28 on Big Machine Records. It is available for pre-order now: http://smarturl.it/JNChristmas.

Producer Julian Raymond (Glen Campbell, Cheap Trick) joined Jennifer in the studio. The project includes collaborations with Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel on “Little Drummer Boy,” and the jazz-influenced melody alongside American-soul sensation Andra Day on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman.” Friend and mentor Dolly Parton – penned “Circle Of Love.”

Jennifer will also star in the NBC television special based on Dolly’s life this December called Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, a holiday-themed sequel to the rating success Coat of Many Colors.

“I’m such a lover of this season and all of the magical feelings that surround us during the holidays so it will be exciting to share it with fans at our live shows,” expressed Jennifer. “Especially since the birth of my son, who arrived to us in December, I’ve found even more joy Christmas traditions and music. Having both Idina and Andra lend their idyllic voices to some of my favorite songs is the bow on top!”

Jennifer will join fans for select tour dates beginning in Nashville, TN (12/8) and continuing to Tallahassee, FL (12/9) as well as Lake Charles, LA (12/10). Tickets go on sale Friday (9/23) at Ticketmaster.com.

The multi-talented entertainer has kept a full schedule this year, releasing her critically-acclaimed sophomore album Playing with Fire, joining label mates Cheap Trick for a CMT Crossroads that earned a CMT Awards nomination for Performance of the Year and headlining the 30+ city CMT Next Women of Country Tour across the US and Canada alongside Brandy Clark, Lindsey Ell and Tara Thompson.

Track listing:

1. Go Tell It On The Mountain
2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (featuring Andra Day)
3. Little Drummer Boy (featuring Idina Menzel)
4. Celebrate Me Home
5. Circle Of Love
6. Do You Hear What I Hear
7. Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep
8. O Holy Night
9. Merry Christmas With Love
10. The First Noel


JenniferNettles.com

She & Him's album Christmas Party is out Oct. 28 on Columbia Records. The sixth release from the duo comprised of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward is the follow up to A Very She And Him Christmas.

Christmas Party features guest appearances by Jenny Lewis, The Chapin Sisters and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley. There are classics like Darlene Love and Phil Spector's "Marshmallow World," Bing Crosby's "Mele Kalikimaka" and Chuck Berry's "Run Run Rudolph."

Ward and Deschanel also may introduce listeners to the more obscure tracks such as folk singer Vashti Bunyon's "Coldest Night of the Year" and the lesser known Frank Sinatra track "Christmas Memories." Pop favorites such as "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and The Chipmunks "Christmas Don't Be Late" round out the celebration.

Track listing:

1. All I Want for Christmas Is You
2. Let It Snow
3. Must Be Santa
4. Happy Holiday
5. Mele Kalikimaka
6. Christmas Memories
7. Run Run Rudolph
8. Winter Wonderland
9. The Coldest Night of the Year
10. A Marshmallow World
11. The Man with the Bag
12. Christmas Don't Be Late 


sheandhim.com 

Loretta Lynn invites you to celebrate the 2016 yuletide season with the release of her new album, White Christmas Blue, on Oct. 7.

The track "White Christmas Blue" is newly penned by Loretta Lynn and Grammy Award winner Shawn Camp. This is the second volume of the Cash Cabin Recordings and part of a planned multi-album deal with Legacy Recordings/Sony Music. It will be released on CD, LP and digitally and is available for pre-order now at:  
http://smarturl.it/ll_wcb_amzn?IQid=pr.1.

Loretta's first collection of seasonal songs since 1966 (and her second release this year for Legacy), White Christmas Blue premieres 12 studio performances including new versions of two original compositions ("Country Christmas" and "To Heck with Ole Santa Claus") which first appeared on Country Christmas; traditional carols ("Away in a Manger," "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Silent Night"); in-the-moment contemporary takes on seasonal pop standards ("Winter Wonderland," "Frosty the Snowman," "Jingle Bells," "White Christmas") and the title track. The album concludes with Loretta's recitation of the beloved seasonal story "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

White Christmas Blue is the celebratory successor to Loretta's first Legacy release, Full Circle (her 40th Top 10 country album and her highest-charting album ever on the Billboard 200). At the time of Full Circle's release, in March 2016, it had been more than a decade since Loretta Lynn had recorded or released any new studio music.

Like Full Circle, White Christmas Blue pays homage to Loretta's deepest musical roots and influences and was recorded at the Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee, produced by Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash.

Track listing:

1. White Christmas Blue
2. Country Christmas
3. Winter Wonderland
4. Away in a Manger
5. Blue Christmas
6. To Heck with Ole Santa Claus
7. Frosty the Snowman
8. Oh Come, All Ye Faithful
9. Jingle Bells
10. White Christmas
11. Silent Night
12. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Monday, September 19, 2016

Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood concert review: Anaheim, Calif. (Night 1)

photo: Bill Alkofer/OC Register
During the 1990s, Garth Brooks gained a reputation as the consummate country music showman. His concerts were often talked about in reverent terms – especially ones like 1997’s Live from Central Park, the HBO broadcast where the singer played for nearly a million New York City fans.

Back then, I mostly focused on alternative rock and paid little attention to the phenomenon. Last Friday night at Honda Center, my first Garth live experience was astounding. Even after a lengthy hiatus from regular recording and touring in the 2000s to raise his three daughters, Brooks, 54, still has more drive and passion than many country acts half his age. Crowd participation was taken to the next level here (quite a feat, considering past stirring singalongs at the venue by Springsteen and U2 enthusiasts).

The first of three sold out Anaheim gigs were part of an ongoing world tour that began in 2014. They marked 20 years since Brooks last brought a major live jaunt to O.C.

photo: George A. Paul
During a pre-show press conference with wife Trisha Yearwood, he talked about how the time away from the limelight was "the greatest gift"...I never missed a talent show or soccer practice. The second greatest gift is being able to do this again." Brooks said in 1996, the arena (then known as Arrowhead Pond) was among the largest he’d done in the area up to that point. "It's one of those places you can't wait to play."

Brooks fondly recalled doing the old Crazy Horse Steak House & Saloon in Santa Ana – alongside all the country music greats - early in his career. “There’s a lot of cowboy tradition out here. It’s a great (touring) market. People come educated in country music.” Yearwood concurred: “There’s a very passionate country market in California and that’s not the case everywhere. We always get a warm welcome here.”

On other fronts, Brooks has a multi-disc box set (including a new album) due in November exclusively through Target. A Christmas collection with Yearwood is also on tap. Additionally, there’s a new SiriusXM station devoted entirely to Brooks and he does a weekly Facebook Live update called Live From Studio G.

Before the Anaheim show started, fans could be heard raving about the reasonable prices for concert ticket and merchandise compared to other superstar acts. I spotted one gal with a memorable shirt that read 'you either love Garth Brooks or you're wrong.'

Brooks and his stellar 10-piece band emerged onstage in dramatic fashion to industrial clanking sounds and opened the concert with the title track of 2014’s “Man Against Machine.” Many of the musicians used ramps around the stage to play for everyone on each side. Half the set comprised country chart toppers.

The sublime backing vocal trio added a soulful sheen to “Rodeo.” Brooks constantly ran all around the stage, mixing it up with his fans and group throughout the evening. He often stood, arms spread and basked in fans’ adulation, seemingly humbled by the enthusiastic response.

An upbeat “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House” quickly got the audience riled up. Some luxurious pedal steel sounds on ballad “The Beaches of Cheyenne” and “The River” were early standouts. The laid back Jimmy Buffett-styled “Two Pina Coladas” was pure fun as Brooks directed the singalong and people hoisted their drinks in approval.

For the rambunctious “Ain’t Going Down (Til the Sun Comes Up),” Brooks climbed atop the lighted sphere surrounding the drummer and shake it. He did “Unanswered Prayers,” a touching ballad about thankfulness, alone on acoustic guitar. The wistful “That Summer” was excellent and Brooks’ ominous sense of drama on “The Thunder Rolls” was practically worth the ticket price alone.

photo: George A. Paul
Then Yearwood, clad in a short black leather jacket emblazoned with ‘Loving You’ on back, appeared on their riveting hit duet “In Another’s Eyes.” They kissed at the end. She took over the stage for a superb, albeit too short, four song set.

Couples swayed along to “How Do I Live,” where she really proved her vocal prowess. Yearwood gave an empowering delivery on “Prizefighter”; the 2014 duet with Kelly Clarkson featured images of cancer survivors and supporters on the screens. A fan’s sign prompted a snippet of another song.

After sharing she’d attended the previous night’s Angels game and noshed on nachos, Yearwood did a spirited “She’s in Love with the Boy” (her first No. 1 in 1991) with a Kiss Cam and laughed at some of the results.

Once Brooks returned, the final stretch featured an excellent “Shameless,” the feisty hoedown “Callin’ Baton Rouge,” a wild take on his signature song “Friends in Low Places” and an extended “The Dance.” Come encore time, Brooks drew his attention to all the fans’ song request signs and did part or all of “The Change,” Bob Dylan's “To Make You Feel My Love” and “Learning to Live Again” on acoustic guitar. The band came back for another request, “Good Ride Cowboy,” the honky tonk tribute to Brooks' idol Chris LeDoux and inspirational “Standing Outside the Fire.”

All told, Brooks put on an electrifying show in Anaheim and lived up to expectations.

Promising newcomer Mitch Rossell did a solid opening set solo on acoustic guitar, highlighted by the title track of his new album “Raised by the Radio,” which Brooks co-produced. Tour backing vocalist Karyn Rochelle - whose songs have been recorded by Yearwood, Sara Evans, Kellie Pickler and others – also did an endearing set with her own band.

A version of my review originally appeared at ocregister.com

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Album review: The Beatles: Live At The Hollywood Bowl

photo: Apple Corps Ltd.


















The Beatles
Live At The Hollywood Bowl
(Capitol/Apple Corps Ltd.)
A+

On this new archival release, there's such an exuberance on display from The Beatles and thousands of screaming girls in attendance, that it's an utter joy to hear.

Producer Giles Martin - along with engineer Sam Okell and their team - did a superior job remixing and remastering the only official Beatles concert album from the original three track tapes at Abbey Road Studios.

I'd never listened to the previous live LP which Giles' father Sir George Martin and Geoff Emerick oversaw in 1977 (the elder Martin was never completely satisfied with it). What initially stands out now is the raw energy the Fab Four had onstage at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964 and '65. 

Describing the restoration process in a podcast, Giles Martin said they used a new demix technology to remove sounds from a single track. That enabled them to lessen some of the pubescent screeching and then focus on getting more guitars and the low end into the mix. It definitely worked wonders. Clocking in at 44 minutes, the 13 songs (plus four rare bonus tracks) find the Fab Four in excellent form.

From the rousing opener "Twist and Shout," John Lennon's manic lead vocal on "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" (where he tries to introduce it and is amazed by the response), group harmonies that tear through the din on "Ticket to Ride" (Paul McCartney is equally bewildered by the fans) and "Can't Buy Me Love" to strong live takes on "A Hard Day's Night," "Help!," "She Loves You" and a seamless "I Want to Hold Your Hand," the raw energy is palpable. Both Lennon and McCartney introduce each song, with the former often injecting some humor into his comments. 

Do yourself and favor and buy a physical copy on CD or vinyl (180-gram gatefold is due out Nov. 18). The CD version is housed in a glossy digipak, with a nice booklet containing photos, an informative essay by Rolling Stone writer David Fricke, the original LP's sleeve notes by George Martin, LA Times news articles from 1964-65 detailing the ticket on sale ("near riots"), pre-show press conference and pseudo review.

Highly recommended for diehard and casual fans.

"Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years," a new documentary directed by Ron Howard, opens in limited run today. Check www.thebeatleseightdaysaweek.com for local listings. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

George Michael's 'Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1' to get deluxe reissue, film

Sony Music has announced Listen Without Prejudice: 25, the anniversary reissue of George Michael's album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 on Nov. 11.

To mark the album’s reissue, Channel 4, BBC Worldwide and Sony Music in England have commissioned Freedom: George Michael, a new documentary narrated by George. It includes commentary from Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Mark Ronson, Mary J Blige, Tony Bennett, Liam Gallagher, James Corden, Ricky Gervais, the Freedom! ’90 video supermodels (Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patitz and Linda Evangelista) and more.

BBC Worldwide will be making the film available to broadcasters. The US premiere will air on Showtime, broadcast date TBA.

A remastered version of George’s 1996 MTV Unplugged performance will also be available as an album for the very first time as part of the Deluxe box set and 2CD Edition. The concert took place at the Three Mills Island Studios in East London on Oct. 11, 1996 and featured George playing 10 songs from the Wham!, Faith, Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 (Freedom ’90) and Older eras in an intimate setting. Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 will also be reissued on vinyl and digital.

Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1. was George’s second solo album. It was arranged, produced and almost completely written by George himself.


The success of George’s first solo album Faith resulted in him becoming one of the few artists who could shift millions of albums worldwide. This, of course, was a dream scenario for the label but George had different plans. Unable and unwilling to be a 24-hour pop star, constantly in the media spotlight, George felt he needed to follow his artistic instincts regarding how his work should be presented.

He decided he would not appear on Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1’s album cover or be available to physically promote the album beyond select interviews, but instead gave the label the David Fincher-directed Freedom! ‘90, which featured five of the most recognizable beauties on the planet, lip-syncing in place of George. This resulted in a difference in opinion between George and the label over how the album was promoted.

A multi-platinum-selling worldwide chart-topper which reached Number 1 in the UK (where it outsold Faith and went 4X platinum), Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 was the sound of a precedent-setting, boundary-pushing global superstar going his own way.

Shortly after the album’s release, George met his great love Anselmo Feleppo. His anger at Anselmo’s tragic early death, together with his frustration over how the US label had marketed his album contributed to his decision to embark on the traumatic court case with Sony. This left him blocked creatively for almost two years, during which time he made a conscious decision to channel all his energy into challenging the standard recording contract and fighting a corner for all artists. George lost the case but gained the personal and artistic freedom he craved.

Twenty-six years on, George and Sony are long reconciled. Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1. remains a remarkable, timeless work, from the beautifully judged protest songs Praying For Time and Mother’s Pride, to the intimate Cowboys & Angels, via the autobiographical Freedom! ‘90. This was music George Michael felt truly committed to.

Directed by BAFTA nominee Phillip Smith, Freedom: George Michael, tells the gripping, dramatic story of the making of Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1, the court case which followed and George’s personal struggle and pain as he loses Anselmo. Many have tried and failed, but George succeeded in reuniting the Freedom! '90 video’s five supermodels.

Other contributors include world famous artists such as Stevie Wonder whose They Won’t Go When I Go was Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1’s only cover; Elton John who describes the album as George’s “masterpiece”; Liam Gallagher who says George has “Lennon in him”; Mary J Blige who reminds us that George “broke all the rules for everybody”; Tony Bennett, Mark Ronson, Tracey Emin, Jean Paul Gaultier, Ricky Gervais, French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt and James Corden. There are contributions from some of the record company executives who were so uncomfortable facing one of their major artists in court and from the case lawyers.

This year has seen an unprecedented amount of film, TV, and game sync licenses using his music.

Formats:
Deluxe, Limited Edition Box Set 3CD and DVD
2CD Edition
Vinyl Edition
 

Listen Without Prejudice, Vol 1 – 3CD+DVD super deluxe
CD 1
1. Praying for Time
2. Freedom! ’90
3. They Won’t Go When I Go
4. Something to Save
5. Cowboys and Angels
6. Waiting for That Day – George Michael / The Rolling Stones
7. Mothers Pride
8. Heal the Pain
9. Soul Free
10. Waiting (Reprise)


CD 2 – MTV Unplugged
1. Freedom! ’90
2. Fastlove – George Michael / Patrice Rushen
3. I Can’t Make You Love Me
4. Father Figure
5. You Have Been Loved
6. Everything She Wants
7. The Strangest Thing
8. Older
9. Star People
10. Praying for Time


CD3: B-Sides And Mixes (super deluxe only)
1. Soul Free (Special Radio Edit)
2. Freedom! ’90 (Back To Reality Mix)
3. Freedom! ’90 (Back To Reality Mix Edit)
4. Fantasy ’90
5. Freedom! ’90 (Edit)
6. Cowboys and Angels (Edit)
7. If You Were My Woman
8. Too Funky (Edit)
9. Crazyman Dance
10. Do You Really Want to Know
11. Happy
12. Too Funky (Extended)
13. Too Jazzy (Happy Mix)
14. Fantasy ’98
15. Heal the Pain – George Michael with Paul McCartney
16. Desafinado – George Michael with Astrud Gilberto


Disc: 4 – DVD (super deluxe only)
1. The South Bank Show 1990
2. Freedom! ’90
3. Praying for Time
4. Freedom! ’90